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  1. We present FLEX-SDK: an open-source software development kit that allows creating a social robot from two simple tablet screens. FLEX-SDK involves tools for designing the robot face and its facial expressions, creating screens for input/output interactions, controlling the robot through a Wizard-of-Oz interface, and scripting autonomous interactions through a simple text-based programming interface. We demonstrate how this system can be used to replicate an interaction study and we present nine case studies involving controlled experiments, observational studies, participatory design sessions, and outreach activities in which our tools were used by researchers and participants to create and interact with social robots. We discuss common observations and lessons learned from these case studies. Our work demonstrates the potential of FLEX-SDK to lower the barrier to entry for Human-Robot Interaction research.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 28, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 28, 2023
  3. Socially interactive robots present numerous unique programming challenges for interaction developers. While modern authoring tools succeed at making the authoring experience approachable and convenient for developers from a wide variety of backgrounds, they are less successful at targeting assistance to developers based on the specific task or interaction being authored. We propose interaction templates, a data-driven solution for (1) matching in-progress robot programs to candidate task or interaction models and then (2) providing assistance to developers by using the matched models to generate modifications to in-progress programs. In this paper, we present the various dimensions that define first how interaction templates might be used, then how interaction templates may be represented, and finally how they might be collected.
  4. The social robotics market is appealing yet challenging. Though social robots are built few remain on the market for long. Many reasons account for their short lifespan with costs and context-specificity ranking high amount them. In this work, we designed, fabricated, and developed FLEXI, a social robot embodiment kit that enabled unlimited customization, making it applicable for a broad range of use cases. The hardware and software of FLEXI were entirely developed by this research team from scratch. FLEXI includes a rich set of materials and attachment pieces to allow for a diverse range of hardware customizations that ensure the embodiment is appropriate for specific customer/researcher projects. It also includes an open-source end-user programming interface to lower the barrier of robotics access to interdisciplinary teams that populate the field of Human-Robot Interaction. We present an iterative development of this cost-effective kit through the lenses of case studies, conceptual research, and soft deployment of FLEXI in three application scenarios: community-support, mental health, and education. Additionally, we provide in open-access the full list of materials and a tutorial to fabricate FLEXI, making it accessible to any maker space, research lab, or workshop space interested in working with or learning about social robots.